If you’re a rental property owner or real estate investor, you know how important it is to have good software to help you manage your business. There are a lot of different options out there, so it can be tough to decide which one is right for you.
In this blog post, we’ll do a side-by-side comparison of 2 of the most popular software options: Stessa and Landlord Studio.
- Stessa is free cloud-based software that helps investors maximize profits through money management, expense and income tracking, and tax reporting.
- Landlord Gurus rated Stessa as the best tool for landlords to track income and expenses, report on their business, and integrate with their bank accounts.
- Landlord Studio is a cloud-based software system that helps landlords with various tasks, including marketing, screening tenants, and collecting rent.
- Landlord Studio offers a free 14-day trial, after which you can choose from one of 3 pricing plans, with month-to-month or annual billing options.
Stessa, a Roofstock company, offers free cloud-based software that helps real estate investors maximize profits through smart money management, automated income and expense tracking, personalized reporting, and more.
The company was launched in 2016 by 2 experienced real estate investors with 30 years of combined experience. Stessa was built with the investor in mind to take care of monitoring and analyzing details, so you don’t have to. More than 100,000 investors already use Stessa to track over 250,000 properties with more than $60 billion in asset value.
Landlord Gurus, a website that provides expert advice to residential landlords and property managers, ranked Stessa as the #1 accounting software for landlords in November 2020. Criteria used to determine the rating included income and expense tracking, reporting and bank account integration, and tax preparation.
Stessa was acquired by Roofstock, a leading marketplace for buying and selling single-family rental (SFR) properties, in March 2021. The Roofstock platform lets everyone from first-time investors to global asset managers evaluate, purchase, and own residential investment properties with confidence from anywhere in the world.
Stessa is free, but it also offers optional, premium services to assist with things like rent analysis and market research.
- Track unlimited properties (single-family, residential multifamily, and short-term rentals).
- Automate income and expense tracking by linking bank and mortgage accounts.
- Collect rent online with Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments from tenants and convenient automatic reminders.
- Stessa partners with Plaid to keep landlord and tenant information safe and secure.
- Get comprehensive performance dashboards at the portfolio and property levels.
- Access your portfolio from anywhere, 24/7.
- Run monthly income-statement, net-cash-flow, capital expense, and other reports.
- Collaborate with partners and family.
- Organize and store all your real estate documents, invoices, and payment receipts.
- Track expenses on the go with the iOS and Android apps.
- Export tax-ready financials and get access to the Stessa Tax Center (makes tax time a breeze).
- Stay up to date with the latest real estate news.
As an added benefit, Stessa’s Cash Management deposit accounts currently earn 2.00% APY (compared to the national average interest of 0.03% on checking accounts as of July 2022, according to the FDIC). Stessa Cash Management users can earn interest on balances from automated rent collection deposits, CapEx account, and operating account.
Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 2.00% is effective as of 8/5/2022. No minimum opening deposit or account balance required. Fees could affect earnings on the account. Stessa is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., member FDIC. The national rate is the average of rates paid by all insured depository institutions and credit unions for which data is available to the FDIC, with rates weighted by each institution’s share of domestic deposits.
Go here to create a free Stessa account.
Landlord Studio overview
Landlord Studio is a cloud-based software system that helps landlords with marketing vacant rental property, screening tenants, collecting rent, accounting, and tax readiness. It also stores documents for multiple rental properties.
The company was founded in 2015 and offers desktop and mobile applications. Landlord Gurus also reviewed Landlord Studio and awarded the software a rating of 46 points compared to a score of 49.5 out of a possible 50 points earned by Stessa.
Landlord Studio offers a free 14-day trial, after which you can choose from one of 3 pricing plans, with month-to-month or annual billing options. The prices below are based on one unit under management (as of July 2022), with prices increasing as more units are added:
- Start: $6.99 a month for one unit or $5.99 a month with annual billing ($71.88 a year)
- Growth: $17.99 a month for one unit or $14.99 a month with annual billing ($179.88 a year)
- Scale: $35.99 a month for one unit or $29.99 a month with annual billing ($431.88 a year)
- Online rent collection ($2.25 a transaction deducted when the rent payment is processed)
- Desktop, iOS, and Android
- Income and expense tracking
- Mileage tracking
- Email reminders
- Email and chat support
- Tenant screening
- Rental listings
- Secure storage (up to 10 documents)
- Customizable emails
- Financial dashboard
- Tenant portal
The Growth plan includes all of the features of the Start plan, plus a discounted transaction fee when tenants pay rent online:
- Online rent collection ($1.75 a transaction)
- Phone support
- Advanced reporting
- Multiuser access (up to 3 users)
- Bank feed integration (one bank account)
- Xero integration (for improved financial reporting and tax readiness)
The Scale plan includes all of the features of the Start and Growth plans, plus:
- Online rent collection ($1.25 a transaction)
- Multiuser access (up to 5 users)
- Bank feed integration (5 bank accounts)
- Multiowner support
- Account manager
Stessa vs. Landlord Studio
Landlord Studio uses a subscription-based model, while Stessa is free. When it comes to essential features that real estate investors use, Stessa gives landlords the flexibility to pick and choose, while Landlord Studio bundles features into their software.
Stessa doesn’t offer online listings, which gives landlords the freedom to select the rental listing websites that best suit their needs. Some of the most popular online listing sites for rental property include Zillow, Realtor.com, Apartments.com, Zumper, and Apartment List.
With Landlord Studio, owners create a property listing page on the site, then manually place the link on the rental listing websites of their choice. The link can also be used for social media, brochures and flyers, and email marketing campaigns.
Stessa lets landlords make their own choices for tenant screening rather than limiting user choice. Some of the most popular websites for screening tenants are SmartMove, E-Renter, and RentPrep. Once a tenant is screened, you can store the rent application and screening reports in your Stessa account online for free.
Landlord Studio uses TransUnion to generate background checks, credit reports, and criminal and eviction checks. The company charges a $38 report fee that can be paid by the landlord or passed on to the applicant.
Neither Stessa nor Landlord Studio offers an option for creating and signing leases online. However, once a lease is completed and signed by all parties, both companies have options for organizing and storing lease documents online. Stessa provides free unlimited document storage while paying subscribers to Landlord Studio can upload and store up to 10 documents on the website.
Online rent collection
Stessa and Landlord Studio both offer online rent collection. Landlord Studio charges owners a fee of between $1.25 and $2.25 for each online rent transaction, depending on the pricing plan selected. On the other hand, ACH rent payments with Stessa are free of charge.
Property owners can collect the monthly rent with both companies, plus one-time fees, such as a security deposit, prorated rent, or late fees. Tenants can also set up an automatic rent payment to ensure the rent is paid on time.
Stessa provides a full range of financial reports for free, including an income statement, net cash flow, capital expense reports, tenant rent roll, real estate balance sheet with owner’s equity, and a Stessa Stress Test model to run various rent collection scenarios across your portfolio.
Landlord Studio offers a variety of reports in both CVS and PDF formats, such as profit and loss, income and expenses, occupancy, overdue and upcoming expenses, mileage, reminders, and tenant rent roll.
Both Stessa and Landlord Studio track income and expenses using Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Schedule E categories to help make tax reporting more straightforward.
The Stessa Tax Center is free for users and includes a personalized year-end tax package with an income statement, net-cash-flow report, and a ZIP file in a single email.
All of the subscription plans from Landlord Studio offer the option of generating a Schedule E report that provides the information needed to fill out Schedule E for Form 1040 at the end of the year.
Stessa vs. Landlord Studio: Which is best for your needs?
Landlord Studio offers a variety of features to help landlords manage their rental properties, including the ability to collect rent online and track income and expenses for tax purposes. The company charges a monthly subscription fee of between $6.99 and $35.99 a unit each month (with discounts available for annual billing) and a $38 report fee for tenant screening.
Stessa is a free platform that allows landlords to outsource services such as rental listings and tenant screening.
By offering landlords a choice, Stessa can stay focused on providing landlords with the best online rent collection, reporting, and accounting tools. The software is ideal for real estate investors who own SFRs, small multifamily properties, short-term vacation rentals, and entire rental property portfolios.